The Recruiter's Soapbox


Is it possible to move sectors successfully in this market?

For the most part, our client base is reluctant to look at Consultants who want to move sectors in today’s market conditions.  Similar reasons are given to the justification of steering away from trainees (see my previous blog) in that everyone wants to hold off for those elusive Consultants with current contacts that can supposedly hit the ground running.

However, we have seen some exceptional performances from Consultants moving sectors this year and have looked at a particular case study which we would like to share with you.

Take Consultant X who, at the beginning of the year, moved from a niche area within B&F to a niche area within the resources space.  In his first full quarter he billed $183K in starters, results wise, putting him second nationally within his new company.  Pretty impressive?

Why has he been so successful in a new market and can anyone make the move?

  1. Firstly, it has to be noted that he has moved to one of the most buoyant markets globally.  This is a whole new world for him of no PSA’s and very few barriers to entry.  So does this mean that we should all down sticks and start looking to the resources sector?  Not so quick here.  On the flip side of this, the discovery of the lack of candidates for him has been simply very scary.  One month in to the job and he was reluctant to call clients as he just didn’t know whether he could deliver on the candidate side.
  2. Despite changing sectors, he kept the variables low– i.e. both were candidate short markets so his original training stood him in good stead.
  3. He brought a game plan.  He wrote himself a business plan and most importantly he stuck to it.  The reality is that he only billed $5K in his first couple of months.  He held his nerve and stuck to the plan and looking at the results for the next quarter– he did the right thing.  Now most of my clients would be having a cardiac arrest at this point, reaching straight for the phone asking me for extended probation and guarantees but this company did no such thing.  They knew he had a plan and they supported him with it.  He knew he needed to immerse himself in this market, he had to market map and not distract himself by chasing after the quick, easy wins.  He was in it for the long term.  He watched others with more of a scatter gun approach who kept changing the game plan and who were struggling.  He believes that it was this consistency that was key to his success.
  4.  He is strategic.  In his words, he doesn’t hit his head against a brick wall– he works a fillable job
  5. He manages his time well
  6. His activity is consistently high.  His first quarter was spent market mapping and contacting hundreds of people a day.
  7. He learnt the nuances of his area quickly.  For example, because he is selling opportunities which tend to mean moving interstate or internationally– the wife plays a very important part in the decision making process.


His manager corroborates many of these points.  According to him, this Consultant’s success comes from his focused and disciplined approach which has led to him building the foundations of a very stable, long term, profitable desk.  He believes the Consultant to be “wired” the right way– focused, disciplined and displaying a high level work ethic.  He quickly acquires client rapport and floats exceptional talent to align with requirements.  You apply these attributes to any market and you are going to get a successful outcome.  His manager agrees that although he has changed markets, both are candidate short, both are very technical and these similarities between markets made the transition easier.

I think one of the big things here is that the company supported the Consultant with his”game plan”.  They agreed his business plan and did not “panic” and push for the early wins.  They had clarity of market focus, they invested in a specific database to establish foundation contacts and they upgraded his LinkedIn license.  The company had REAL expectations which were realistic, communicated well and achievable which aided this smooth transition.  As our client says, these transitions only tend to fail when one of the two parties has falsely represented the opportunity or their skill set as part of the process.

So in short, yes it is possible to transition sectors in this market but you need a plan, exceptional skills, a strong work ethic and a solid company that is prepared to take a long term focus and won’t be panicked into pushing for short term wins, for it to be successful.